October 26, 2014

You Do Not Need To Be Beautiful To Be Loved

I awoke today with a certain built-up angst because of a picture my dad sent me earlier this week. It was an image of a young girl, who due to an interior disease has a loss of pigmentation throughout her exterior. 

Her skin is saturated brownish-white and her eyes are contrasting with both colors of brown and green. She is divinely majestic. 

I could easily just expose her picture, but I'd rather you imagine her. 

Imagine her being your daughter. Imagine her being your sister.

Imagine her being you. 

Now imagine your noteworthy features being ridiculed and bashed. Imagine feeling like you're ready to stream tears every time someone gives you a precarious look because you can't possibly blend in - where no amount of make-up can fully conceal what you look like to them. You unwillingly stand out because you are not the norm. 

Imagine feeling the urge to constantly compare yourself to others, and then further execrate yourself for not matching up because you diverge from all societal expectations of what we consider 'beautiful', or more commonly now 'sexy'. 

And when you aren't being scorned, you are being pitied. You are put on some forsaken pedestal because they feel you've somehow earned it solely by the virtue of your peculiar looks. 

Instead of accepting our differences, we marginalize them. Instead of embracing all of our imperfections, we mask them. We are so caught up within ideals that are frivolously out of this world, that we belittle all purpose - our individual purposes as a species. 

We demean our value as people.

I'm not about to get on a some self-righteous rampage because I've only now started to throughly develop an awareness at how much foolish emphasis we put on our exteriors amongst this generation and now sadly, more prominently among the upcoming one.

I do strongly believe we must love ourselves and that it is ultimately in our own will to fully commit to a self-love, whether interior or exterior. 

However, it seems as though our self-love is repressed when we are rejected by societal ideologies. Yet, loving ourselves will never come from how much validation we get from others who don't know or even come close to understanding you in the way you do and who more often than not, put an over-emphasis on how pretty, handsome, or unappealing you look on whatever given day. 

Truly loving oneself begins with you and ends with only you. It comes from the deepest, most precious parts about yourself; even the not-so nice ones. 

Now let's imagine a world where everything you've learned over-time to consider is beautiful becomes non-existent. What if beauty, real authentic beauty, had nothing to do with how 'perfectly' put together one is, or how many squats we must dedicate in order to amplify our given body features. 

What if we lived in a world where beauty wasn't solely a staple of appearance? It was merely an attribute that enhanced all the other rad parts about ourselves.

I know I'm only kidding myself to think that this kind of world will exist in its entirety, but we can at least begin to be attentive and suggestive about all the implications of beauty that we witness. 

If being beautiful nowadays is based solely on exterior credentials, then you know what? Fuck being beautiful. I want no part in it. 

I am not beautiful, I am me. And you, are you - distinctive and damn proud of it. Please know that this is enough. In fact, it's more than just enough. It's more than most of us are. 

You are not just some doppelgänger, and should never wish to be. 

Let's teach our kids and peers the importance of what self-value actually is. 

So when others approach him/her and calls them cute or pretty - they can respond, "I'm smart, too".

And when they get older and begin to be burdened with the realities of life, they don't choose who to date or marry sparingly. They are dealt with someone where they don't just tolerate each others quirks, but actually kind of like them. 

Let's learn to love in its entirety.

Featured on Thought Catalog

October 15, 2014

4 Years & Not Counting

Here we are. Hand in hand, and more motivated than ever before. 

Today, we celebrate us. Our four years, and (not) counting.

We celebrate our synchronizing efforts of who we've become as partners; as a unit, as a team.

We celebrate our devotion. Our unity. To each other and as vitally, to our individual selves that we refuse to lose sight of.

I'd say that is one of the many, many things that I appreciate about you most. The way you encourage me to do and be whatever, and whoever it is that I deem.  

You grant me so much liberty to evolve and/or contradict myself as many times as this life enables me to without any foul judgement.

You never constrain me.

You love me enough to let me be, and to let me go. To let me wander, because you know it always leads me back to you. 

That is the upmost gift within the unpredictable realms of my world and you will never truly understand how thankful I am for it - For you. 

It's okay because it is something only my heart can exclusively fathom.

You nor I will ever fully grasp the dynamics of such esteem, but it doesn't matter. I know we both amply feel it. 

Venturing and growing through life with you thus far, has been nothing short of empowering.

I look in the mirror today and the reflection of my 14-year-old self shows face, and she holds this "I knew it" grin that transcends through my being now.   

I am grinning, and I am whole. 

And on this day, this living memorable day, beyond every shadow of juvenile doubt - I cannot recall a single moment that my heart did not belong to you.  

So never mind four, seven, or ten years. You've given me an infinite number of moments coated with so much meaning. 

You give me meaning. 

Thank you universe, God and whatever almighty presence, for this love.  

signed, -S

To sum it up. 

October 13, 2014

You Don't Know What You Have 'Till It's Gone

It is a difficult era in which to know anything with any certainty. In these youthful days of glory, we become reluctant to commit to anything due to the predisposed notion that something or someone better may come along.

There may be some validity in that, and it can be an admirable quality to think that we won’t settle for anything until we’ve personally experienced what else is out there for us.

That urge is most especially understandable for deciphering who is right for us, or more importantly, who “the one” is. This seems to be intensified when we find ourselves convinced that we have found someone quite special, but then, the classic devil and angel analogy slowly creeps into our subconscious minds.

The gnawing predictions and inquiries of what you might lose if you decide to indefinitely commit to that special someone will begin to manifest and cloud your intuition:

"Is this what I really want? I’m still so young, what do I know about what I want? I don’t even know what I want to eat in the next hour. If I can’t make a decision as simple as what I want to eat, how can I decide with whom I can potentially spend the rest of my life? That’s a long freaking time. What if I commit too soon, and then the person I think is my soul mate will screw me over in a really traumatizing way, leaving me woefully alone with requited baggage. Forever."

While you continue to freak yourself out and ultimately shun yourself away from this person, you’ll do what you set out to do. Live your life and decide to explore the greener horizons with the preconceived certainty that when another special person comes along, you’ll be ready.

With time, if another notable person does, in fact, waltz into your life and pull at your heartstrings, you’ll know your initial doubts were plausible. The real risk, however, is the prospect that the other special person, whom you were certain would come, never does.

What if, after all of that time, you go to consider what else is out there, only to realize that "special" or even a glimmer of it only comes by rarely?

Then, all too suddenly, the retrospects of your life begin to render in your mind, and you struggle with a new understanding of what you repressed. It’s now probable that someone else took your given opportunity without any cruel hesitation because, well, how could someone not?

That kind of special quality you once held dear is inimitable. This painful revelation is like no other, and it is difficult to accept. I mean, you blatantly disregarded what this person was worth to you, and now, you’re left with no choice but to own up to your losses and then move on.

While this loss may feel like you’re a total failure when it comes to matters of love, for a moment, consider what you gained. I know it might sound a little foolish, but sometimes, these losses will enable you to be even more conscious or interconnected with yourself and the world around you.

You will learn to recognize the difference between petty doubts, which are natural when considering any life-altering decisions, and the burdening doubts, which are definitely the ones you need to address.

The realities and lessons of this experience, however, would have never transcended, had you not allowed yourself to go with your fear of failure rather than your hope for success. No matter how right or regretful the decision will ultimately turn out to be, it is your decision, which will help you learn for the next go-around.

Even if it takes what may feel like a lifetime to find someone as exceedingly special as that one person, and you spend a good amount of time dwelling on what could have been, surely, you’ll someday be able to value someone the way you once valued your special someone.

You just have to be willing to go there. Trust that you’ll be able to make a better decision in the future and that all is not lost. 

(Originally published & edited on Elite Daily)

September 11, 2014

The Next Big Step: Moving in Together

Making the decision of living with anyone that you’re not required to cope with (aka parentals, sorry mom) is usually a rather precarious situation.

I’m sure the idea of moving in with your best friend may have sounded like the perfectly carved scenario and you were probably kicking yourself for not having thought of it long before.

However, the idea is quickly retracted as the rack of dirty dishes gets taller and she begins to openly welcome a stray of random hookups who murmur sweet nothings while nonchalantly chomping on your stash of Garden Salsa Sun Chips.

Nevertheless, I think we can still uphold that every relationship and experience is likely so different on all spectrums. One experience that is particularly like no other is taking the inevitable next step in a relationship to move in together.

It’s yet another scenario we paint with butterflies and compromise. Which, to my surprise, happens to be just that: lots of butterflies and lots of compromises.

The idea of being open to sharing so much of yourself and belongings in what may feel like a confined area, is probably the most frightening factor to consider when deciding to live day-in and day-out with your babe (besides knowing when and how you’ll be able to go poop without an unintentional splash or sound echoing from the restroom).

If you’re anything like me, who so cherishes time well spent alone and having a refuge to call my own, it is most definitely a challenging transition — one which will make you anxious, stressed and stir-crazy, but mostly, just crazy.

Not the bad crazy (for the most part), but the good crazy that fuels us to get where we need to. The crazy that shall be evenly applied within both of your lives while you begin to conform and embark on what will undoubtedly be grueling and complex, but still so exhilarating and rewarding.

Every day is an adventure. Sharing your life right alongside someone you love is the learning and growing experience of a lifetime.

You learn to posses much more patience than you ever thought you could accumulate. You learn to become understanding, even when you don’t want to be. You learn that not getting your way can sometimes work out for the better, and most importantly, you learn to become selfless.

Besides the repetitive reprimands and mixed dirty laundry, the toughest obstacle (at least for me) is becoming so comfortable and dependent on one another, that you often fail to honor the very things that make you, you.

By you, I mean the you that he or she fell in love with. The you that you don’t want to lose sight of. The you that, like a flower, needs to be replenished with its longed essentials to grow, blossom and to sustain.

Prioritize the revitalizing life you share with your babe, while also keeping account of when you need your space. I cannot stress enough how vital it is to routinely dedicate some time to yourself. It is key in any thriving relationship.

We often take our time alone for granted and never really treasure the moments we can truly satisfy our own souls — not to say that your significant other may not already be doing so. However, there really is no one who knows you better than you (as much as your partner would like to argue otherwise).

Whether it means you feel like sulking, writing in a journal, rocking out to an old high school playlist or just thinking aloud amongst your own space, use these moments to also date yourself. If the self-soul is fed, everything else will naturally fall into place.

The most common misconception is that moving in with a significant other is the absolute worst decision you can make because of the likelihood that you will both change, and romance will become nonexistent and you’re basically doomed to calling it quits.

I won’t deny that this may in fact happen, but so what if you both do change? Change is growth, and who better to do that with than with your partner?

Romance or the “honeymoon phase” doesn’t need to end just because that’s what statistics have embedded in us. When you devote time to your babe and to yourself, the love you share will never go astray.

The butterflies in your tummy will flap even more profoundly, and home will be the place that will always make you skip a beat and fill you with a thrilling anticipation.

Home will be him or her.

Living together will sure as hell not be a walk in the park; it’s more like a walk on the beach. It is sometimes lumpy and your feet sink, requiring more effort and strength to move forward, but the scenery of it all is breathtakingly beautiful, making it all so worthwhile.

-signed, S

Originally published on Elite Daily

You Won't Find Your Worth Through Social Media

I have rendered (after much extra time on my hands and unnecessary overanalyzing) that social networking has essentially just become another way for all of us to feel some underlying acceptance that goes far beyond a click of a ‘like’ button. 

He/she gets me. He likes me. She likes me. 

Isn’t that really the whole gist of it? To be judged and to be “understood”? It all seems to reflect complexities of what is now a pretty dominant evaluation of someone or something. Yet it almost always leans towards deception. 

Social networking, specifically, so easily allows us to be or resemble whomever it is we’d like to be perceived as. More often than not, however, we resort to fabricating ourselves to a wide selection of specific traits or recreations as the bigger picture of our online exposĂ©s. With such a diverse automat of ultimately fictional characters, it becomes sort of difficult to figure out (or at least have an idea) of who exactly someone is.

Networking on the web was essentially created to connect with others and shed light on some areas of our lives that are willing to be shared, and to then engage on those common interests with those we have friended. With that being said, we seem to overlook that as much as we’d like to think that everyone so deeply cares about what we have to say 20 to 40 times a day, it might be considered a little too far-fetched. 

You all know exactly what I’m talking about: the endless rants about how great our boyfriends/girlfriends are followed by a hate post, family drama, or just a miscellaneous post defending ones’ values. As if we have to defend ourselves at all.   

Social networking or even just surfing the web is rarely ever just used for recreational purposes anymore. It seems rather, to be used to quench some satisfaction with a post holding little to no connotation to us, while desperately hoping the validation of others will still somehow make it valuable. 

Here’s the catch: No matter how many likes or retweets you may have accumulated, that so-called fulfillment will never be gratifying. Notice how after you’ve pleased the urge, you feel empty. You feel regretful. You still feel like you have something more to prove. 

Mostly because, no void or easement can be filled with such poignancy. I am no exception; I have found myself guilty of such redundancies. I’ve literally had to demand my conscious to become aware of what it is that I am getting so worked up about, to where I feel almost disgusted at how far I was willing to let the superficialities (that comes with the World Wide Web) take a hold of me. 

My path of study and work greatly depends on networks for a high demand of traffic and well, let’s face it, money. However, it has been nothing less than an eye opener at how far we’ve lost ourselves on these manufactured developments. It’s almost as if we’ve become manufactured ourselves. Everything is cued. 

We have been programmed in similar ways as these mainstream platforms have. We’ve adapted ourselves and our lives to live vicariously through social networking, as opposed to just living; to just being. 

I have personally witnessed couples build their entire foundation based solely on credentials connected directly back to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

As far as praising the Internet Gods for allowing babe to post that picture captioned with an in-depth proclamation of his love for her because, HELLO! Let’s get real, she wouldn’t be as sure of what they had together hadn’t he taken that whole minute and 30 seconds to profess his endearment to her and all of her friends. 

I know you’re probably thinking that by my investment of time and effort to write about this evidently makes me a hypocrite because by writing about it, I’m ultimately giving it importance. 

Well, isn’t it important, though? Social media is definitely prevalent in our everyday lives, so why not discuss how much or how little it impacts society and us as individuals. 

I hate to generalize and perhaps, antagonize something that can also be beautiful if approached for what it actually is and what it was intended for: a place to connect (or re-connect) and mingle, along with other limitless opportunities for social/business/personal stamina. 

All of my family resides in Italy and Venezuela, and they are still able to be included in the loop of the all frenzies that I share online. I am able to virtually meet some of my employers, mentors and other writers within the platforms of social networks and talk writer stuff, or gush over a favorite novel. Or, simply just talk — and that’s a damn beautiful thing. 

So I’m summoning a challenge. For you, for me, for everyone: To become conscious and aware of anytime you begin to feel undermined or distressed on social media, and to then genuinely ask yourself why — why is this affecting me this way? Why is this so important to me? Is it worth it? 

Once you’re able to confide deeply in those questions, you’ll understand your place — your worth. 

That you’re not just some profile or gigabyte of memory. You’re not just some girl or guy trying to make a statement. No. You’re far more than that. You are a part of a remarkable species capable of emotions, love, meaning, and life. 

Our most remarkable attribute, however, is our most dignified ability of just being present. 

-signed, S

Originally featured on Thought Catalog

May 13, 2014

Pace Yourself: A Race to Relationships

After reading some misleading articles and listings on the “Do’s & Don’ts in Relationships” or on “How To: Keep Your Relationship From Failing” from so-called experts who have probably never had a successful relationship due to some of the ridiculous notions they hawk, it has sparked up a few sub-thoughts of why some of these “rationales” are missing the more basic and pivotal picture.

You’re all so concerned to know why most relationships throughout Generation-Y are a total bust? Well, coming from someone who has been screwed over and in turn, screwed up time and time again in all kinds of relationships, it seems I’d be of the least suitable to answer that for you.

Though, after an almost sickening degree of mistakes and screw-ups, you do inevitably learn a thing or two.

So, I’m going to enlighten you anyway.

When you come upon someone who pulls at your heartstrings, there seems to be a rather heightened urgency to just skip the prologue and dive right into a relationship.

Whether the exclusive acquaintance is with your barista, friend with benefits, the cutie at the bookstore who happened to grab the same book as you so it was immediately concluded that he/she is in fact your soul mate, or some mixture of all these, we seem to naively disregard that no matter the degree or discretion of your intimacy, all of these are essentially only a dimension of a relationship.

However, the status quo now-a-days is if you talk to each other on a daily basis, physically see each other more than just on occasion, and don’t completely hate each others guts by the third week, you’re already basically reeling in a full-blown relationship — whether that’s what you had intended or not.

Except we seem to have the dynamics of a relationship all backwards. The rather precarious yet vital time to actually getting to know the person we grow oh-so fond of, oh-so-quickly has essentially become a foreign concept.

Strictly chatting via social accounts and relentlessly exchanging poop/heart emojis to each other hardly counts as a reliable way to deeply familiarize with your special someone.

We romanticize and idealize the abstractions of a relationship, before we’ve even barely scraped the surface of who our desired person really is.

The vast majority of people don’t even bother to get to know basic information about each other anymore, such as: favorite color, family background, food allergies, hobbies, or middle name (if one at all).

In this day and age, credibility primarily lies no further than what meets the eye:

Bra size? C. 
Ass? Mind-boggling. 
Hair color? Brown.. 
Eyes? Green.. wait.. no. Blue.. I think. 

No worries, you got her bra size. She sounds lovely.

This may all sound very elementary, but it is still no less valuable. The foundation of any developing connection lies within the margins of meeting and thoroughly grasping the basic essentials of one another, prior to solidifying any substantive relationship.

Who knows, if you had known your girl was a passive-aggressive-bitch from planet Schizophrenia before you got acquainted with each other’s private parts, you might have saved yourself some trouble. Or, if you had perhaps waited a couple of months to find out that the guy you are seeing is as sensitive as a new-born infant, you may have thought twice before calling him your “man.”

Let the strengths — and more importantly, flaws — really manifest themselves before you even consider being each other’s babes. You may recognize that some of the shortcomings can be easily overlooked, to which you continue on to the amends of love. Or, they’re simply far too much to bear with.

If you do end up realizing the disclosed attributes aren’t in your best interest, you have at least allowed yourself a gateway to be proactive and opt yourself out of the virtual duo without so much but a punch in the gut — as opposed to going out on a whim without any proper knowledge of your supposed lover, and then down the short road of what may sometimes feels like an everlasting heartbreak on one or both ends.

Take things at your own pace, even if it takes a while. If you’re not ready, accept that it is okay and everything shall progress as it need be.

So, just chill. It’s a relationship, not a rat race.

Featured on Thought Catalog